On November 19th, I wrote about Andre Ward fighting Sergey Kovalev, and predicted Ward by decision. Ward is a higher skilled fighter, however Kovalev was the favorite. The second fight, in my opinion, will be much different from the first.
In the first fight between the two, Ward went down in the second round, and seemed hurt. He used his boxing skills to gain composure and work his way through the trouble. He was effective enough to use his skills, keep Kovalev at bay enough to squeak out a close decision.
I think Kovalev goes into the rematch with a different mindset. I think he does not think he can win a decision. After the first fight, in which I scored it 114-113 Ward, Kovalev spoke about his injustice. I get it; right after the fight he lost a close decision and said he was robbed. What champion doesn’t think they won a decision, after losing their title.
My expectation on Ward is he will game plan the same way he did for the first fight. He plans on using his technique and skills to outpoint Kovalev and stay away from Kovalev’s strength, which would be an all out brawl. I don’t think Ward is going to have the luxury of a respecting Kovalev. Sergey will provide constant pressure.
My expectation on Kovalev is he is strong, and has a heart of steal. He will game plan different from the first. In two words – No Respect! Kovalev is going to take more chances and I don’t expect him to ever let Ward breathe without ongoing pressure.
This fight should end in a blood bath. It will either end in a knockout, or two very bruised fighters. I expect Kovalev to win by KO. Kovalev made so many American fans with his knockout power and aggressive style. He cannot afford to lose twice to Ward in two fights. I would be shocked if he allowed Ward to dictate the fight.
This fight could spark the need for a third, and it is always a lot of fun to see trilogies in the boxing world. Let’s expect some excitement tonight, and hope they decide to have a rubber match in 2018.